Spring is in the air!! Which means, wanting to lose weight is also in the air. With bikini-bod magazine ads starting to hit the shelves, it’s starting to become top of mind for most. I totally get wanting to shed some extra winter pounds.
I also want to support you in finding a way of eating that keeps you:
- Happy (aka you love the way you’re eating and feeling so you keep going and KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF)
- Sane (aka you don’t want to slap your husband who’s eating a different meal than you)
- Confident (aka you accept and honour your body NOW instead of waiting for another number or pant size)
So, in this 3 part series, I’m going to answer 3 questions you’re probably asking yourself:
What do I eat to lose weight? Cut out carbs? Cut out fruit? Potatoes? Cut out fat? Eat salads all day?
How much do I eat to lose weight? Are vegetables unlimited? How many calories should I take in? Do I have to eat out of these containers forever?
When do I eat to lose weight? 6 meals? 3 meals? Every 2 hours? Should I fast?
I know how overwhelming it gets. In this series, I hope to eliminate much of the weight loss confusion for you by exploring different ideas, and options.
Part 1: What do I eat to lose weight?
In my “what to eat” recommendations, I’m going to be suggesting a balance of foods that help you to meet your nutrient requirements for health AND that help to keep you the most satisfied. So you’re not staring down the clock all day waiting for your next feeding, and miserably hungry all day.
To boost your meal satisfaction, aim for the following balance with your meals:
- a significant source of protein,
- a moderate amount of fat,
- nutrient-rich carbohydrates,
- and all the vegetables your heart desires.
Of course, another huge and often overlooked factor in meal satisfaction is eating meals you actually enjoy eating. So, please take that into consideration here too.
Aim to have a protein source at every.single.meal.
Protein is the most satisfying nutrient because it’s digested most slowly and it turns on appetite-satisfaction signals in the gut. Eating adequate protein at regular intervals also supports you in preserving and building lean muscle mass as you lose weight.
Protein is definitely the nutrient to prioritize when it comes to weight loss.
Here are the main sources:
- White fish (haddock, mahi mahi, cod, etc.)
- Fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines)
- Pork (trim fat)
- Beef (lean cuts)
- Eggs + egg whites
- Dairy: cottage cheese and greek yogurt
- Legumes: peas, lentils, beans
There are other less significant sources that can add up in a meal but for the sake of simplicity, I’d suggest you include a “main source” from this list with all of your meals.
Like protein, consuming fat with meals triggers the release of satiety hormones, and protects you against fluctuating blood sugar levels. There’s also evidence that shows eating enough fat supports your body in burning more fat. Yeah! That’s what we want, ya’ll!
I suggest adding a small (I get into portions in part 2) amount of fat with all 3 of your meals.
You’ll be prioritizing unsaturated sources of fat (the healthiest fats for your body) like: olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia oil, fatty fish like salmon and herring, nuts, seeds and nut/seed butters, or avocado.
Fat sources add some “yum” to a meal. Making your weight loss journey more enjoyable.
And to recap, by including fat with your meal, you’ll feel more satisfied at meals, go longer between meals without being hungry, and activate your body’s ability to mobilize stored fat.
Better taste + easier fat loss. It’s a win-win.
Here are the main unsaturated sources:
- Oils (olive, avocado, macadamia)
- Nuts, seeds (go with raw)
- Nut butters (ones with JUST the nut or seed as the ingredient)
- Fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines)
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATE SOURCE
Carbohydrates are your body’s ideal source of energy; not eating enough or the more nutrient-dense kinds will impact how you feel throughout the day, and your ability to maintain your healthy eating habits. I commonly see clients trying to restrict all carbohydrates, then binging on all the carbohydrates.
…..Just gimmiieee all the chocolate….
Maintaining a moderate complex carbohydrate intake with every meal will support your health, your energy levels, and your consistency.
And we all know consistency is the key!
Ideally, most of your carbohydrates will come from vegetables, nutrient rich whole grains, and fresh fruit.
Carbohydrates provide less satisfaction than protein or fat, so in order to reach your mission of meal satisfaction, it’s important to prioritize the types of carbohydrates that provide the most satiety (and nutrition!) : they keep you satisfied, they keep you nourished.
Here are examples of high fibre, high nutrient, carbohydrates:
- Some vegetables are a little higher but for the sake of simplicity, the only vegetable I include in the carbohydrate group are sweet potatoes and potatoes
- Wild rice or brown rice
- Whole grain bread (shout out to Silver Hills and Ezekiel breads!)
- Whole grain pastas
- All fruit
- Legumes: peas, beans, lentils
ALLL THE VEGETABLES
Vegetables are magical. Here’s why:
• They are packed with health-promoting, disease fighting phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
• They are the least energy-dense food – meaning they give you the least amount of calories for the most amount of volume in your belly. More satisfaction on way less calories!
With every single meal, I suggest adding all the non-starchy vegetables you can. Like: kale, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, onions, brussel sprouts, asparagus, beets, carrots, etc. Prioritize variety, and the darker kinds. Darker vegetables have more pigmentation, and that pigmentation provides nutritional benefit.
For example, green vegetables are coloured by a pigment called chlorophyll, and red vegetables get their red colour from a pigment called lycopene. Both have unique health properties including reducing cancer risk, and protecting against heart disease.
I hope this helped to clarify the why’s behind the “what to eat”. There’s nothing less empowering than being told what to eat by someone, and having no idea why you’re doing it.
If you need meal ideas that include these food groups, check out my recipe page.
In the next article, I’ll dive into how much of each food group is ideal for weight loss, and the truth behind calories. For now, I want you to focus on including these 4 groups (protein, complex carbs, fat, vegetables) into your meals consistently, and eating until you’re satisfied.
Until next time.